[T]his is a safe place. A place where we can feel free sharing our feelings. Think of my [blog] as a nest in a tree of trust and understanding. We can say anything here.
Mathew Ingram has a compelling post today about the value of and need for Comments and the conversations they engender. This conversation arises out of Russ Beattie’s decision to remove Comment functionality from his blog.
First about Russ’s decision. While I agree that he sounds defensive if not petulant in his response to the brouhaha over his election to discontinue Commenting on his blog, I can’t help but believe that part of all this is a circling of the wagons after the absurd cease and desist letter he got with respect the that SMS.ac post. If I got attacked like that for merely stating my opinion, I’d probably circle the wagons a little bit too. That’s not being a jerk; it’s human nature. Maybe he made the decision about Comments before he got that letter- I don’t know. But, again, if I were in his shoes I might very well do the same thing, at least for a while.
Now about Commenting in general. I think it’s a huge mistake to remove Comment functionality from a blog. And while I think Russ is reacting too strongly to the rational parts of the debate about Comments, even Comments on his blog (we should all ignore the fringe cases who just want to scream), I don’t think he’s wrecking the blogosphere or trying to offend anyone.
Mathew mentions Dave Winer, who for whatever reason doesn’t allow comments on one of his blogs. I don’t know Dave, but he seems like an alright guy- I like people who speak their minds and don’t mind challenging something I or others want or believe. I don’t know why he doesn’t allow Comments, but I suppose if your Wikipedia entry reads like this, you don’t have to allow people to Comment on your blog. I would ask him about his Commenting policy in a Comment, except, well, you get the picture.
My bottom line on this is that I agree with Mathew about the value of Comments and the conversations they promote. But I recognize that others may or may not share my criteria for a good blog. If someone, be they Russ or Dave or anyone else, doesn’t want to read what I think about something, no worries. I’m sure I can find someone who wants to talk to me.
All those people who want to comment at Russ’s or Dave’s blog are free to comment away here and over at Mathew’s blog.
P.S. Mathew also has a very nice implementation of his coComment feed on the right side of his page. That looks really good.